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Sunday, 4 December 2011


Nowadays, there seems to be so many fb (facebook) bickering that may end up with nothing except swelling the already blown up or heated egos. Some of us have decided to specialize in fault-finding rather than becoming a pro-active part of solution. Few are very good in pointing fingers rather than pointing and working towards a workable stratergy or methodology. 
I have always been reminded by my ayahanda (father) and bonda (mother) to 'tegur dengan berhikmah' (criticize with wisdom) whenever I teach, write or make art. They do that because they know my temperament all too well. They know my tendency to throw punches or jabs (metaphorically ok) at people for even little things that I dislike. I've done that through my teaching, my writing and my artworks. In most cases, I tend to put myself (ego) in front of anything else, including things that matter most or things that of much larger importance than my personal sentiment. I had seen this monster (my ego) on my mirror every morning, but pretended that it had no power over me. I was wrong. It had grown so big, it had veiled me from seeing 'within'. I've witnessed similar monsters in few others as well, including when it comes to writing and publishing materials on art. 

Now I can see the reason behind the constant reminder from my parents.

Most of the time, such activities have been skewed by bickering (membebel), gossiping  (mengumpat), parodying (memperli dan menyindir), ridiculing (memperlekeh), bashing (menghentam-kromo), fault-finding or worse, fabricating fault (mencari atau mengada-adakan kesilapan orang lain), unchecked finger pointing (menuduh tanpa periksa) and many more. These are destructive forces that are mostly driven by unstable energies. It is not surprising then to occasionally realize how we may easily become the very thing that we dislike (or despise) if such dark forces have taken over our sense of ‘being’. 

For example, those who bicker about racism may become racists, those who bicker about religious fanaticism may turn into fanatics, those who bicker about the tyranny of authoritarian state may become more authoritarian, those who bicker about lack of tolerance may become intolerant. Focusing on dark forces will only turn one into them.  These forces may pretend or even become us!

These dark forces, mostly loud and always visible, are normally tainted by the presence of ego.  Unfortunately, at times, those who possessed such forces have been mistakenly taken as a 'hero' or 'savior', regardless of which position or side they took. Sometimes, such skewed forces have been misread as a virtue. Added by the viral mob effect of online technology, such fake heroes may clutter the internet in no time. Like ‘ganja’, they make us high and addicted for more. Yes, there might be some impacts felt, mostly spun as a 'tsunami' or 'transformation' or 'change'. After a while, such transformation or change will reveal its true self as just another (well spun) side of the same coin.

On the other hand, constructive criticism should be encouraged and welcomed, especially when it comes to the performance of public servants and institutions. Such criticism should come with no narrow personal baggage, agenda and sentiment (not to mentioned, shattered ego). Sober discussion, civil debate and engaging discourse should be encouraged too, especially amongst the younger generation. All these should be driven by love and compassion, energy or frequencies that are more in tuned with our true nature.   

The National Visual Art Gallery (NVAG) is one example of such public institution. It should therefore not be excluded from critical, inclusive and responsible questionings.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the NVAG, few of us including yours truly (me!), have been at times inflicted by some of the dark forces. For many years since its establishment, NVAG (used to be NAG) has been a favourite (if not cliché) punching bag for many (including yours truly). Of course, one could not expect all the punches to result in KO or TKO’s. In fact, NVAG has probably been punched too many times until it had turned numbed already. 

When it comes to punching, I’ve been doing it so many times to NVAG that my hands have become numbed too. But most of the times, I did it up front and in closed doors since I knew most of the staff members, from the top till the bottom. No need to detail out the ‘punching’ and ‘jabbing’ to become a hero. After all, my hands are numbed already. Probably there are already many others out there who are more willing and capable of more aimless punching and jabbing.

Meanwhile, lets practice some love and compassion in criticizing others, including the NVAG. 

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